Wednesday, December 28, 2016

GMRS Radio

  We have not been active with our ham radio hobby for years as we ran out of all but a couple locals to talk to and we could not afford all the equipment it takes to be on the HF bands that the Brothers use.  I did however just renew my HAM license that come due soon.

GMRS - WQYS231

Whisky Quebec Yankee Sierra Two Three One

     Meanwhile renewing my HAM license that coming due at the FCC site so I don't loose my HAM call,  I signed up for a General Mobile Radio Service license for the family.  I know it is not HAM radio, but the whole family can operate under one GMRS call with no skill learning required from non-HAM family members.  For 5 family members it comes to $14 for each of us.  While not HAM radio, GMRS is still useful in emergency's and perhaps for us, more so, as well as useful for our family's general mobile radio usage.  For Kathy and I, we are looking at getting a Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) at a very excellent deal.  Paul, Kathy and Cecil and Earl already have FRS radios but there range is very limited.  These can be can be loaners to others I guess.  There have also been others in the congregation that have talked about using GMRS in emergency situations.  We look forward to having others to talk on radios again.

   I also updated our Ham Radio Page at our Family Web Site to include our new family GMRS call.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016



   Programming was to much for us to do togather so we did a rethink on a hobby we can do togather and we both decided on learning the guitar.  We are repairing and adding new strings to to a guitar we received from Dad that used to belong to my Uncle (Gerald).  We start a new blog for this new hobby at Acoustic Achord you are welcome to follow us in our new hobby.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A second visit to Makerspace and my Wiki updates

    On Feb 12 I took our car to Makerspace to show it.  It did not run much since the Motor batteries ran out of juice rather quickly.  That evening when I got home I ordered 9v power AC power block and a 9v battery clip each with the barrel plug to fit the Arduino source for the Arduino that should also easily power the L298N motor controller and its four 5v motors easily.

   I also took a few photos to bring home to show Kathy while I was there:





I have also been working on a couple Wiki pages at:  Eugenemakerspace.com/wiki/Main/PaulA  The first page is for our car proggress.  I will update it on occasion to update my progress here on occasion and learn new Wiki features over time.  I will keep a sort of a running updated blog.  Old blog posts never get read anyway.

The second wiki page will contain any progress we make towards connecting our second Rpi2 to our television set as another monitoring station for our home security cameras.  Also handy to watch the birds eat from the bird feeders and scratch in the ground under it instead of TV at the same time.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A visit to the local Makerspace and Arduino board test Skript working

  Makerspace

   I went to the local Eugene Makerspace shop tonight for 6:00pm friday open night.  There were about 11 there including women and children.  Tuesday night at 6pm is also an open access night.  For full 24/7 shop access there is a $25 monthly fee.  Four of us there were visitors checking out the environment, expertise and tools available.  It is a small but nice work space to build small wood, electronics and other projects.  Many of the tools available were contributed and even rebuilt to make usable.  They have woodworking tools: Small table saw, routers, sanders, etc.) Hand tools: Wrenches and the like are available.  They also have a laser printer that was recently rebuilt by members.  Two older 3d plastic printers are also being repaired.  Available also is a vacuum former and vinyl printer.  As can be seen here, the shop is offered for a wide variety of type of projects.

Our Car

   We have built our 4wd car and are now working on learning to program it using Python on the Rpi2 and Skript to control the Arduino Compatible Mega 2560 R3 board.

   So for all we have running is an Arduino Skript I found on the internet to make the motors run through a test routine.  I need to learn now to control the Arduino board using the Rpi2.  I will be experimenting with code I find on the internet and trying to adapt it to our particular hardware.

       Our Hobby Photo's Collection < link including videos



Monday, January 18, 2016

Pi-Bot Pre assembly

   We have been calling our creation Pi-Bot. We have done some pre-assembly to learn how to hook up the circuit pathways and learn how to talk to the chips.

   In this video clip is our Chromebook is temporarily connected to the Arduino board, L298N motor controller and 2 motors. I found the code that works for us on Instructables.  I have been more successful, and got it to work first using my Chromebook first.  I then got it to work on the Raspberry Pi and Arduino IDE once I knew it was working.  Working with the little Raspberry Pi is very slow, but does well once set up. I will do most of my code experimentation on my Chromebook.


   My Wife and I need to get the frame assembled so we can put these parts on the actual machine and at least get it to do some pre-programmed paths on the floor.

   We still are working on how to access the Arduino board using Python on the Raspberry Pi 2.  When I find code that works there we then will have to find a way to incorporate the code all together to make a truly programmable car. 

   We have four simple 2-wire motors that apparently are only used at 1 speed, forward and reverse.  I plan to research digital style motors that have speed control options.  I do not know how much I will have to change the code or car to add this feature, and this sounds a bit scary.  As we are just learning to program Arduino Skript and Python any code we add to the base code we found at Instructables is going to be a difficult trial and error job for us.  I will be looking all over the web for and accepting any help I find on to make our learning curve easier. 

   Eventually we would like to get SSH WiFi remote working, I have only play with this a little but was able to access The Pi 2 terminal by WiFi remote on my Chromebook.  I am a Graphical UI guy so there was not much I could do there.  I want to be able to access the Pi 2 Python IDE th will be connected onboard to control the Arduino board. What a learning curve it has been. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Raspberry Arduino 4wd Smart Car

   To give us something to program together with our Raspberry Pi 2 Kathy and I have ordered parts to build our own car.  We spent an hour before our weekly Bible study working towards learning Python together to this end.  We are going through a Udacity Python 2.7 video course together. 
 $16.89 Arduino Compatible DIY Motor Smart Robot Car Chassis Kit 4 WD-16.89 and Free Shipping| GearBest.com
Arduino Compatible DIY Motor Smart Robot Car Chassis Kit 4WD
All these parts so far were from Gearbest with excellent prices.

   Mounted on our car to control our motors will be a L298N motor drive module and an Arduino compatible Mega 2560 R3 board 16U2 for other accessories like an obstacle avoidance sensor or perhaps a camera.  Also to add we have our Raspberry Pi 2 to give a brain to our new smart car.
 L298N motor controller        Arduino Mega 2560 R3

Our plastic frame, motors and wheels for our car are ready for assembly.



   My Brother Craig, who by the way, just got a Raspberry Pi 2 today in the mail today has been busy getting his Pi set up to his preferences.  He is also going to run Linux Ubuntu Pi MATE.

   Now the learning to program together with my Wife, Brother and another Friend and his father continues.  I look forward to this hobby being something we can all do together as we enjoy some fine association with each other.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pi a la Cart

Raspberry Pi 2 on its own new plastic
 Sterilite 3 drawer cart from Walmart for $10


The plan is to keep all parts in one location this way.  The keyboard and mouse are on the top pulled out drawer.  It all has a 10' umbilical cord going to the TV, Power, and the Lan.  The whole thing can be wheeled to our chairs when using else be stored away.  The small little Pi 2 is a mobile device but nothing like we have become accustomed to :/
Raspberry Pi 2 Booting up a la dessert cart

It is also sporting a cool desktop I found with Google at: wordpress
Made the text match the color we love it.